A New Jersey woman with a display of flags voicing her opposition to President Joe Biden now faces legal censorship after a judge handed her a ruling demanding that anti-Biden flags placed outsider her house be taken down elsewise she faces a stiff daily fine.
The woman who resides in Roselle Park allegedly upset neighbors and violated local codes when she decorated her front yard with pro-Donald Trump and anti-Joe Biden flags.
The six flag display includes the following text:
“Joe Biden Sucks,” “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Trump,” “[redacted] Biden,” “Socialism Sucks, Biden Blows,” “[redacted] Biden Not My President,” and a last flag that simply reads “[redacted] Biden” with an image of Trump flipping a pair of birds.
Mayor Joseph Signorello, a Democrat, said that the display violates town ordinances which prohibit “obscene materials,” but insisted that the political aspect of the display was not a problem.
Signorello told NJ.com that the political take of the display is not what caught their attention but the “vulgarity of it.” He added that from the perspective of the local community, the display is an issue as it sits just on block away from an elementary school and also is displayed “in a high visibility area,” where children are likely to encounter it.
The display’s owner, Andrea Dick, stands in defiance against city officials, saying that she’s “not taking them down… I refuse,” and added that she maintains her “right, freedom of speech… I’m leaving them up there.”
Gary Bundy, a Municipal Court Judge for Roselle Park, gave an order that Dick, as well as the property owner (Dick’s mother), must remove the flags which contain profanity, or else face a fine of $250 per day. Judge Bundy said that profanity is not protected speech under the First Amendment.
Bundy spoke to NJ.com, claiming that the case was not related to politics but “is a case… about language.” He said that the city ordinance does not inhibit Dick’s ability to express her political views, but added that the First Amendment does not guarantee “an absolute right” to free speech, and therefore she must express her views without the explicit terms.
The defending attorney, Michael Campagna, who represents the homeowner, called the judges ruling an attempt at “censorship.” Campagna argued that placing limits on the First Amendment is dangerous because it leads down a path to censorship.
Author: MaryAnn Poole